An outline is an organizational tool used by writers to gather thoughts so that they can be clearly laid out in an essay or book. Many writers feel that creating an outline is the key to effective writing, and it certainly makes the writing process more efficient and focused. By creating an outline for a piece of writing, the author ensures that all the pieces of the puzzle are presented in a logical, clear order, and that they flow well, drawing the reader to a logical conclusion. An outline can also be used to identify and eliminate potential areas of weakness or lack of focus in a paper. Although an outline is rarely required for a piece of writing, it can be extremely helpful. Papers which are written with the assistance of an outline tend to be of a higher quality, because of the greater level of organization. For this reason, outlines should be among the tools which every writer knows how to use. Outlines help writers to organize what they are going to say before they write it.
2. What are the kinds of outline?
The most common type of outline is called the Alphanumeric Outline. Alpha as in alphabet and Numeric as in Numerals - it's the one that uses a combination of numbers and letters to organize your thoughts.
I. Start with Roman Numbers for Largest Headings
A. Then use Capital Letters
1. Then use Arabic Numbers
a. Then use small letters
II. Continue In This Fashion Until the Outline Is Finished
Full-sentence outlines, as the term suggests, use complete sentences on each line of the outline. These can take longer to write, but they do give a much more thorough idea of what is going to be in the final paper. Topic outlines list the main topic or idea of each line, but do not make complete sentences. Some call the Roman numerals above a-heads, the capitalized letters, b-heads, and so on. Some writers also prefer to insert a blank line between the a-heads and b-heads (N.B. these people keep the b-heads and...